Haniell is a young musician living in south London who released Ocmundtune-mastix & Now. A couple years back he released People Doing Things. I feel like Ocmundtune-mastix & Now has vast improvements in a lot of areas.
The songs are still experimental but also more accessible. I was reminded of Dirty Projectors or perhaps These New Puritans at times because the melodies were catchy but off kilter in a way that made them unique.
The album starts with “Fortune Green.” I loved the a cappella beginning with some very faint pads if you listen closely. It’s haunting but striking at the same time. A piano comes into the mix if only for a little while. It’s around the three-minute-mark a jazzy beat comes in with a unique time signature. I loved the first track.
There is more of a groove with “Post Quarter Life '' which is a prime example of Haniell combining palatable melodies with more advanced musical structure and technique. “Who'd've” might be the catchy song in the batch. Again there is some very unique things happening in this track that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention.
“Warmstone” is a warm and melancholy song. The song “Faust Arp” by Radiohead came to mind. Next up is “Okehampton Carnival” which wisely brings up the energy with percussive elements while “Everything Is Going to Be Perfect” is an emotionally heart wrenching song at times. You can feel the doubt and sarcasm when Haniell sings “Everything is going to be perfect forever and nothing will ever go wrong” which is perhaps the most striking and emotional moment on the album.
“Nightwalkers” is a bit of a slow burn but contains some beautiful moments that swell between melancholy and meditative tranquility. He brilliantly goes into “Aftermas” which raises the serotonin levels and then strips things down with “August 3rd.” “First Practise of the New Season” combines elements of dissonance and tension while the closer “Cycle Lanes” is a sparse closer that sent shivers down my spine.
On “Cycle Lanes” his last lines are “I’m disappearing before my eyes / And I haven’t even had the chance yet to begin/ But it’s time to boil the kettle / And let the kitten in.” The ambiguous language points to imagery of death but he throws a wrench in the equation with some poetic sensibility. Sometimes music can hit upon meaning below the substratum of everyday experience. You might not even know why it meant something but it does. That is one of the reasons art can transcend and take us through portals we might not have been aware of.
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